Well I do LOVE a good conference. I nipped out of the Oxford EV summit a bit before the end, as I am jetlagged and needed some alone time. Alone time does not last long for me. I only lasted a few moments with my headphones on, trying to keep myself to myself, then I joined a table of locals and kicked off a round of 20 questions (anyone who knows me has probably been subjected to this ice-breaker on absolute steroids, at some point in our relationship).
What a great couple of days though! There was a stellar line up speakers and delegates. Feather in my cap was getting an interview with the CEO of Mahindra. A spectacularly humble and gentile man named Mahesh and his incredible, approachable, warm, and intelligent assistant Ronak. Blown. Away. I may have scared them both a bit with my gushy enthusiasm. Then this morning I was honoured with the presence of the event coordinator Ade. An incredibly understated and buttoned up fellow, who actually didn’t seem even remotely scared of me. I think the fact his dear friend and colleague James spent an entire Saturday with my batshit crazy self in NZ, and even got to meet several of my friends that day, meant he was briefed on what to expect. Luckily, my reputation often proceeds me, and that helps save me the trouble of explaining that I have no filter, suffer no fools, take no prisoners, and swear like a sailor. Oh, and I am definitely a hugger. I always ask first, but odds are, I will hug you. It is what I do. I didn’t hug the Mahindra guys though. I have no idea why that would have been weird, but it totally would have, and the thought didn’t even cross my mind at the time, I was just star struck beyond belief. Really humble, and incredibly cool cats across the whole show. I’m quite decidedly smitten with Oxford now.
I am so fucking content right now. Tired. A bit frazzled because I’ve had to bounce out of what was shaping up to be a very rewarding collaboration, as only a few weeks in, all we seemed to do is fight. I like a good fair fight, but not if nothing ever seems to get resolved. So, I guess I will never successfully navigate a relationship with anyone equally as passionate or feisty as myself. Romantically, professionally, socially, or generally. It is just too much to have two incredibly intense people vying for… whatever it is, they are vying for I guess. Luckily, almost nobody is as feisty or intense as I am, so I have high hopes for the majority of my future dealings with humanity.
A consistent barrage of compliments and new friends and feeling incredibly connected to total strangers has been good medicine for a failed friendship. This is my last world tour this year. Someone may need to actually tether me to New Zealand or put a shock collar on me that is activated around a 5km radius perimeter of the airport. My Love of travel, and people, and strangers, and new friends, and new places, and seeing old friends and sneaking in a bit of romance (I am looking AH-mazing right now, and I am off the hook excited to be catching up with someone who is absolutely generous with their capacity appreciate that for a few days up in Scotland. YAY!).
I feel quite decidedly wonderful in my own skin right now. And there’s something absolutely contagious about my joy and contentment. I’ve gamified smiling at and connecting with strangers. I give myself 10 points for eye contact and a shared smile, 50 for giving a sincere compliment to a complete stranger, 100 for a conversations that lasts long enough to introduce them to my blogs or podcasts, and 100 points for a new LinkedIn connection. I’m clocking up well into the thousands of points well before noon lately. I am on FIRE!
If I had a ten-pound note for every time I have heard “you really aren’t like anyone I have ever met” or “my you really are something!” in the last four days, well, I’d be able to finance an entire formula-E team with some change left over I suspect. I’m walking on air, and clearly and completely in my element bopping around the globe, basically locked in some Disney-esque musical scene of sorts as I blow through people’s lives like a hurricane of hope, noise, and happy.
Why to great mood? Why am I grinning like an idiot and making friends literally everywhere I go? How can anyone be so cheerful the face of what was unanimously agreed is a total cluster fuck that is the very real climate crisis?
I don’t know. I suspect I’ve farewelled the final few fucks I gave about convention or pleasing people, and I now feel absolutely and inextricably linked to the ground swell of activists and agitators I am lucky enough to rub shoulders with.
There’s something incredibly empowering about coming to terms with the severity of the situation. I met an insurance assessor big wig on my flight over, I have forgotten his name, as I have met literally hundreds of people since heading on my way from Auckland only a few short days ago. He was a very nice fellow though. Has a couple of young kids and a beautiful wife he dotes on them all. Good, wholesome, funny, family man. He was actually irritatingly likeable. I asked him quite directly what it felt like to be at the helm of an industry that is almost certainly on the brink of collapse thanks to the fucking mess humanity made. We laughed and laughed. He did not deny or downplay the acuteness of the problems we are facing. He was also very schooled in serious social injustices taking place across the ditch from our beautiful island nation of Aotearoa, in the “lucky country” Australia. There is some dark shit going down there these days, as we bask in the warm glow of a tolerant, warm, and wonderful leader and a HUGE surge in sustainability and resilience planning in New Zealand. Why did we both resort humour (dark as it was) instead of mournful shaking of our heads, wringing of our hands, and tut tut noises and sighs? We belly laughed all the way to baggage claim instead. I am wondering if perhaps I have finally gone completely around the bend, or maybe laughter really is the best medicine right now?
The world is a hot mess. Literally, and figuratively. This shit is getting real. I liken it to the way the surrealness of the Holocaust, and how it affected funny, dynamic, divine human beings came to life for me while I read Anne Frank’s diary. The human face on the global situation is the anxiety and panic attacks of most of my peers when we do the numbers and realise where we are headed. People are already being affected. We already have climate change refugees. Food security and economic collapse seem possible, perhaps probable, at this point. I have no idea what we are going to do. I feel absolutely honoured to be able to stand on the shoulders of giants who are going down scratching and biting alongside me.
So, my highly hypocritical and hyper wee self will jump onto a plane in the morning and pop over to NYC. I can’t say what part of this trip I am most excited about! Presenting at the city council to let them know what is going on in NZ, joining the consummate goddess Suki (who hosted a women’s retreat in the Dominican Republic alongside her dear friend Joanna earlier this year) at her event on the 1st, going to the suburbs with my host and friend Mark to meet his feisty mom, actually attending one of the Gaaaaayyyys in Spaaaaaace events, or seeing any number of my friends and heroes that are based in this magical city. I will be on a rooftop, walk barefoot through the grass in central park and hug the stuffing out of several dozen people.
Every moment seems to be a gift right now. I have no time to dwell on the antics of self-sabotaging dipshits that I have to deal with. Everything is magical, and I am noticing and embracing moments more than I think I ever have in my life before.
My right-hand goddess is smashing it like a total baller back home at the helm, and my kids and husband, ex husband? The kids and Phteven, are never far from my thoughts and I am missing them all more than I can remember ever missing them when I am globe-trotting. They’re also all happier than they have been in a long while lately. There’s a light that has descended on us, and I can’t place my finger on what lit it, but I am thoroughly enjoying the warm glow.
I am not happy that we are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun right now. I am not overly hopeful for humanity, yet there’s something I have to call cosmic stirring. We are going to be okay if we take care of each other and we plan and we ready ourselves. I don’t know what okay looks like, but there is a calm that has settled as we steel ourselves in readiness for a very uncertain future.
And in the meantime, before shit gets real, I hope I get a chance to laugh with you IRL soon.
Thank you for reading.